Sometimes I just sit there, huddled at the bottom. Leaning forward, my chest pressed against my knees. Listening to the soothing white noise of the droplets crashing against the vinyl curtain. Rubbing the warmth into my head and neck. Trying to massage some semblance of ambition into my body.
If I can just scrub hard enough I might wash away the doubt and fear. I might rinse away the filth of the worry, and shame, and guilt.
I look up and let the water run across my closed eyes.
If I just stay here long enough I might come clean.
Image Credit: Shower by Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)
I woke up this morning without noticing the change. I knew it happened, but it didn’t click.
I arrived in my confident lateness. I went about my routine as if nothing had happened. A cup of coffee, a bit of straightening up. Barely noticing empty spaces on shelves, or the absence of the small red box where her possessions were kept.
When I opened the journal where, as formality dictates, we forecast our days.
There, in the margin, neatly written was a final message to me.
The weight settled as I read it.
“Good luck, I am happy for you.”
Always thought the laundromat would be good for writing. In a dark poetry, seedy underbelly, Tom Waits kind of way.
But, there is scant sad beauty to be had in that one sock left behind at the bottom of the machine.
The dryers aren’t hot enough to burn away your sins. Not at six minutes for a quarter anyway.
It’s been weeks and I have yet to hear any secret, sobering wisdom from the mouths of crazed junkies, if I’m lucky enough to find one.
Shame how life won’t imitate art.
Guess I should be used to disappointment by now.
He dreamt of her last night. Her death, and then attending her funeral. Waking in tears.
He didn’t cry when it happened. Not when his father could see.
The sadness had belonged to the old man then, more than himself. It had been his turn to be strong. To soldier on. For his father. For the other mourners. Maybe a little bit for himself, just to see if he could.
For years after, he had forgotten to grieve. Never really learned how. Never took the time.
This morning he wept, the memory of her face lost except, in that dream.
I should probably get
A plant for my desk.
A small piece of greenery
To fill the large brown space,
Between the lamp and the stapler.
Perhaps a Jade
Or maybe a cactus.
Something sturdy that might survive
The inevitable neglect that
I will no doubt heap upon it.
It should have a nice pot,
I think terracotta would compliment,
The tawny wooden surface,
Of this battered old desk.
It could sit next to the books,
That I promise I’ll finish reading.
I’d possibly name it Henry,
And speak quietly to it
While I pretend that I write.
What a wonderful feeling,
To have woken up late,
on such a bright new day.
To have shrugged off, for just this once,
The unreasonable demands of the clock,
And silence its scream for attention.
Having nowhere particular to be,
And no need to bend to the whims,
Of an all too practical world.
To taste your coffee once,
Then let it just cool a moment,
Before the next lazy sip.
To sit and just simply enjoy,
Even for a short time,
The warmth of wanton idleness.
Oh such glorious mornings,
You will never know
How much you are missed.
The old cat lay in its warm spot on the grass.
Its fur tattered and patched, teeth mostly broken or gone.
It rarely bothered to get up anymore. Its spine hurt with age. Its back legs barely worked through the pain of old injuries.
The others would go and rub against the small girl that stopped by everyday to pet the strays on the lot.
It just ignored her through its crusted eye.
Wondering if the old woman was going to come by to feed them today.
Laying there, waiting out the remaining days in its little patch of sunshine.
I never meant to fall asleep,
Before my work was done.
I felt so weary,
I just laid my head down,
Only for a bit.
The room was cold,
I draped the blanket about me.
My eyes burned,
My head throbbed,
I drew down the blind.
I dozed for that perfect moment,
In the warmth,
Soft and dark.
I dreamt of abundance,
A world of peace.
You threw the blinds open,
I was awake once again.
Jagged rays of midday declared,
Here still is toil,
A place full of strife.
I never meant to dream,
Before our work was done.
“What are your plans for Thursday?”, the same phone call every year.
As if he might not remember what day it was or forgotten their conversation about priorities, he clearly wasn’t one of hers. He had been cast aside. Left in need to satisfy the wants of other people.
Now those wretches surround her.
Each year feeling guilty, alone, and used, she called with the expectation, he would come sit at their table for scraps of feigned affection for the sake of tradition, and her absolution.
Once again he declined the invitation.
The phone would remain silent for another year.
For three days now, he awoke to find an empty coffee pot.
For three days he had been forced to brew a fresh pot before being able to sit on the steps, gather his thoughts and become human again, in the perfect warmth of the morning sun.
This particular morning he watched her pour it.
Not quite all of it. A small sip remained at the bottom, just enough to tease his craving.
He was sure that in some places this was grounds for divorce.
Not here though. Here he was left with only two choices.
Love or a bludgeon.